Countryside Alliance Awards



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The Countryside Alliance Awards

Welcome to the website of the Countryside Alliance Awards, the Countryside Alliance's unique annual celebration of rural life, produce and communities. Nicknamed "The Rural Oscars" these awards are broad in scope, highly coveted and a great morale boost to those in the running. The Countryside Alliance is the leading voice of rural Britain, and our Awards complement our wide ranging support and promotion of rural life.

The Countryside Alliance Awards started life in 2005 as the Best Rural Retailer competition. They were borne of a desire to give a voice and a platform to rural businesses and to acknowledge the efforts of thousands of unsung heroes who routinely go above and beyond the call of duty for their communities. The Countryside Alliance had long felt the "doom and gloom" tales of rural decline about dwindling services, a collapsing farming sector and the death of village life did not accurately reflect the spirit of rural people and their desire to protect our landscapes, heritage and communities for future generations.

The Countryside Alliance Awards took over where the Retailer competition left off.  

The categories are as follows:

  1. Local Food Award
  2. Village Shop/ PO Award
  3. Enterprise
  4. Butcher
  5. Pub

Champions are chosen by a panel which is chaired by Countryside Alliance Chief Executive and also includes the Daily Telegraph's Philip Johnston, The Farmers Guardian's Emma Penny, Peter Gott of Sillfield Farm and Waitrose Food Editor, MasterChef critic and award-winning author William Sitwell.

The longest serving judge, who sat on the panel from 2006 until her death in March 2014, was cook, author, campaigner and country champion, Clarissa Dickson Wright. A special award has been created in her name to ensure her legacy.

Clarissa had given her own named award her blessing in the months before her death. Clarissa was in on every detail of the award from the criteria to the colour of the plaque (claret and gold). This Award, she said, should reflect her support for farming, slow food, artisan production, high animal welfare and a commitment to campaigning education about our countryside. In 2013 Clarissa herself chose the winner, Sillfield Farm in Cumbria, and had planned to present it to owners Peter and Christine Gott, but alas it was not to be, and she died in March 2014, weeks before the presentation was made. A special panel of Clarissa's friends now take this Award forward. Indeed, Peter Gott chairs the "Clarissa" panel since he and Clarissa shared so many views on farming, rural education and rural life. 

Follow the Awards on Twitter, and tweet your support, using the hashtag #RuralOscars

Watch our short film about the Chatsworth Estate, who won our first ever Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. The Lifetime Achievement Award is in the gift of the judges and to date has only been awarded once.